Maybe it was a good idea for the Bluesfest organizers to move the time slots a couple hours later. After a fantastic few days of music, the little bit more rest was needed. Fortunately, tomorrow is an off day! Tonight, Bluesfest favourites Blue Rodeo are the headliners. As such, prepare for one massive campfire outing with the Canadian legends.

But if you’re looking for alternatives or need some help choosing what other bands to see, we’re here to help. So without further ado, here are the RBC Bluesfest July 12th Gig Picks. As usual, the Ottawa performers are below, and you can check out the Ottawa Soundmakers series for more info.

Richard Thompson - by Sarah WhiteRichard Thompson – 9:30 PM, Monster Energy Stage

Richard Thompson is a legend. He’s one of the most gifted guitarists of all time and a terrific songwriter and storyteller. He’s often been overshadowed by the likes of Bob Dylan and Van Morrison for his literary style and Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana for his electrifying skills on the guitar. However, he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as these giants. You may not know the name, but you likely know many of his songs, which have been covered by a wide-range of artists, including Elvis Costello, R.E.M., David Byrne, and a host of others. Don’t miss the chance to see an all-time great live.


Willie NileWillie Nile – 8:00 PM, Monster Energy Stage

Willie Nile is a living, breathing, walking encyclopedia of rock ‘n roll music. His understanding of the breadth and history of the genre knows no bounds, and his knowledge is encapsulated in his blazing sound. His music recalls an era where rock ‘n roll truly rocked people’s minds, where the guitar solos were played with furious precision, and the songwriting matched the musicianship. Discover for yourself why Willie Nile is often mentioned alongside Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, and Roger Waters for his artistry and his live performances.


failuretheheartcd_0Failure – 5:00 PM, Bell Stage

Continuing the rock theme but down a different path, Los Angeles-based Failure are making a mark in their way with their unique indie rock. In the late ’90s, they blew people away with their varied sound – from lush, melodic numbers to edgy alt-rock to shimmering shoegaze. After a 17-year hiatus, they reunited in 2014 and recently released a terrific new album, The Heart Is a Monster. The record is an 18-song compilation, so it’s unlikely Failure will play the album in its entirety, but we sure would like to see them try!


Ottawa Musicians

The first Ottawa musicians to perform today are Silvergun & Spleen (3:00 PM, Canadian Stage). With their melodic and catch rocky sound, that at times can be dark and heavy, they are Ottawa’s equivalent to Silversun Pickups. We’ve watched this band grow from their early days, and their potential is enormous. Whereas Silvergun & Spleen will rock you out, The Visit (3:30 PM, Barney Danson Theatre) will enchant you with their haunting and ethereal instrumentation. Be transported back to mid-19th Century Austria or even to the Middle East where a single instrument, in this case the cello, and a single voice can stir your emotions.

The Joe Gaspar Band (3:30 PM, Monster Energy Stage) is also a throwback, but in terms of blues rock with a touch of alt-rock for good measure. They’re the perfect starter for those waiting for Failure. Bosveld (5:00 PM, Barney Danson Theatre) meanwhile, takes a much different approach. Taking an experimental approach to folk and classical music, Bosveld attempt to reinterpret popular genres into something eerie, sometimes cinematic, and often mind-boggling complex.

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